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0338 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 338 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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to the loan of a certain quantity of corn for the fixed period of nine months to Ho Hsin-yüeh, an official. No rate of interest is specified in this case, and we are thus left in doubt as to the particular manner in which the pious money-lender—for as such we may safely recognize Chien-ying—had assured his profit on the transaction. The formal pledge of the borrower's property we find here repeated. At the end of both bonds are mentioned, besides the names and ages of the borrowers, those of two of their near female relatives (mother and sister, wife and daughter), who are evidently sureties. Near the end we find, not the ` finger impressions '

of the contracting parties which the text names, but ink marks which, perhaps, served the same purpose.

Among the fragmentary documents found in the packets D. vii. 3 and D. vii. 4 there are no less than six which, by the recurrence of the identical formulas or by other indications of the contents, have been recognized by M. Chavannes as bonds relating to loans. The dates, so far as preserved in three of them, belong either to the periods immediately following or the one preceding the Chien-chung period (78o-783 A. D.), and thus fall quite close to the year 782 A.D. of the previously-quoted documents 2. Seeing that some of these fragmentary bonds (D. vII. 4. b, 4. e) were found in the identical packet with the record D. vii. 4. a, distinctly naming Chien-ying as the lender, while the rest (D. vII. 3. a, b, c, d) were comprised in one packet lying within less than a foot of it, it appears probable that these papers, too, relate to money-lending transactions of the same monk or possibly some equally businesslike brethren from the H u-kuo convent.

This conclusion seems the more justified as every one of the remaining four Chinese documents from D. vu contains distinct evidence of having issued from, or having been addressed to, members of a Buddhist monastic establishment. By far the most interesting piece is D. vu. 7 (see Plate CXVI), complete but for a small lacuna, containing an order from the three chief dignitaries of the Hu-kuo temple to certain of their dependants, among them apparently the monk Ta-yen, ` in supervising charge of the outlying [property].' The order is dated on the 27th day of the eighth month, without indication of the year, and directs in somewhat peremptory language that on its receipt at Yang-ling the servants of the temple should all be employed for three days in cutting the grass, while one man only should be left to look after the irrigation of the fields. The order is signed in different hands by the three monks holding the offices of chief Karmadâna, Sthavira, and Vihârasvâmin of the temple or Vihâra. It is far more likely that an order of this kind would be retained at the place to which it was addressed than at the one from which it was sent. It is further difficult to suppose that the little shrine (D. vi) could have boasted of such an array of monastic dignitaries as signed the order, and thus everything points to the conclusion that D. vii, the find-place of the document, was in reality the modest residence of the monkish caretakers who looked after the outlying landed property of the Hu-kuo temple in this neighbourhood. That a small shrine like D. vi should be attached to their residence scarcely needs explanation. If this assumption is right Yang-ling would have to be taken as the name of the particular village or hamlet where the lands were situated, while the designation of Li-hsieh previously discussed applied to the whole tract.

Documents   The name of Hu-kuo does not occur in the remaining three documents, which are mere

on monastic detached fragments, but in each of them we meet with the mention of Buddhist monks. affairs.

Chinese records of loans.

Order from the Hu-kuo convent.

as an indication of the time needed for changes in the official chronological reckoning to get known and applied in so distant a territory as Yü-t'ien.

D. vii. 3. d (see Plate CXVI) is dated in the 8th year

Chien-chung (recce 3rd year Chêng-yuan), 787 A.D.; D. vu. 3. c dates from the Chêng-yuan period, 785-804 (indication of year missing) : D. vu. 3. a (see Plate CXVI) from the Ta-li period, 766-779 (year lost).